Tristan at Yulu's Toy Fair booth
A few years ago at Toy Fair, BaliYo, a subsidiary of the Spyderco knife company that revolutionized the industry with its innovative one-handed opening facility, showed its then new BaliYo pen based on the relatively esoteric and mostly illegal Filipino folding knife called the balisong, or more popularly, the butterfly knife.
At this year’s Toy Fair, Hong Kong-based Yulu, a brand-driven supplier of toys and games promoting an active lifestyle in developing children’s creativity and problem-solvng skills, showed Flip Finz, its own new skill toy take on the balisong.
Like the BaliYo and the knife, the Flip Finz features two hinged metal handles, which when adroitly swung open single-handedly, whips the respective pen, blade, or in the Flip Finz case, plastic center piece, into writing, cutting, or just plain fun play position. Not only does the Flip Finz retain the balisong’s distinctive clacking sound when its fin-like handles and center piece make contact, but the center piece lights up with every twirl and flip.
On hand to demonstrate the Flip Finz at Yulu’s Toy Fair booth was professional balisong player Trustan, who noted that while other companies make balisong-like toys, Yulu’s light-up Flip Finz is clearly a toy—a major selling point in that the knives themselves, again, are more often than not illegal.
But Tristan also pointed out that there exists a substantial “balisong community” of flipping enthusiasts, and said that he had been sent a Flip Finz prototype after being discovered via his Instagram account.
“I helped them make some changes and improvements—and got some help from the community,” said Tristan, in between flips. He added that there are plenty of Flip Finz tutorials available on YouTube.